A gambling addict who tried to suffocate his ill wife and stole £20,000 from her and his elderly mother-in-law has been spared jail.
Douglas Miller held a pillow over the woman’s head and pressed down on it, only stopping when their dog licked his hand.
He then said: ‘I have done nothing and I am not going to be accused of anything.’
The 45-year-old, who lost a leg in a hit-and-run accident since the assault, also stole thousands from his MS-suffering wife and his elderly mother-in-law, who has dementia, to fund his slot machines addiction.
Teesside Crown Court heard that Miller, who lived with his wife in Murray Place, Chester-le-Street, County Durham, was his wife’s full-time carer.
Prosecutor Rosalind Scott-Bell said that during the attack in January, the woman tried to shout out but couldn’t.
It was later discovered that Miller had stolen money from two accounts belonging to his wife and one in her mother’s name.
His wife, who is divorcing him, said: ‘I have lived a lie for the past 20 years.’
She said she felt betrayed, adding: ‘It is despicable and unforgivable for him to treat a woman with dementia like that.’
And she added that ‘my life with him is over’.
Tony Davies, mitigating, said Miller wished to apologise to the victims.
He said: ‘This is a man who has devoted his life to caring for his wife.
‘This represents a breach of trust and the ultimate punishment is that he has lost his wife, his home and has been exiled, living in Hull.’
Miller was originally charged with attempted murder, but the charge was changed after the road accident, and he admitted a lesser offence of common assault.
Judge Stephen Ashurst said the victim ‘thought her number was up’, and labelled the thefts as disgraceful.
The judge took a ‘merciful view’, giving him a two-year prison sentence, suspended for two years, adding: ‘It is sometimes believed that suspended sentences allow people to leave a court without consequences.
‘It seems to me that in this case events have overtaken your criminality.
‘This is the right sentence to pass to extend a degree of mercy to you.’